Peoples, Caukasus, Circassia, Women
Copper engraving by Sasso 1820.
Original antique print
Fine original hand coloring.
Image: 10 x 12 cm (3.9 X 4.7")
Wikipedia entry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circassian_beauties):
"Circassian beauty or Adyghe beauty (Adyghe: Адыгэ пшъашъэ, romanized: Adıgə pş̂aş̂ə) is a stereotype and a belief used to refer to an idealized image of the women of the Circassian people of the Northwestern Caucasus. A fairly extensive literary history suggests that Circassian women were thought to be unusually beautiful, spirited, and elegant, and as such were desirable as concubines.
This reputation dates back to the Late Middle Ages, when the Circassian coast was frequented by traders from Genoa, and the founder of the Medici dynasty, Cosimo de' Medici, had an illegitimate son from a Circassian slave. During the Ottoman Empire and Persian Safavid and Qajar dynasties, Circassian women living as slaves in the Sultan's Imperial Harem and Shah's harems started to build their reputation as extremely beautiful and genteel, which then became a common trope in Western Orientalism.
As a result of this reputation, in Europe and America Circassians were often characterised as ideals of feminine beauty in poetry and art. Cosmetic products were advertised, from the 18th century on, using the word "Circassian" in the title, or claiming that the product was based on substances used by the women of Circassia."